German photographer Jens Cullmann's image of a mud-covered crocodile lurking just below the surface captured in Zimbabwe's Mana Pools National Park took the top honours at the 2022 World Nature Photography Awards (WNPAs)

Gold winner, Animal portraits category and overall grand-prize winner
Crocodile in Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe
© Jens Cullmann/World Nature Photography Awards

The shot was chosen out of thousands of entries from 45 different countries across 6 continents. 

"I had to be very careful not to disturb the crocodile, even though it was buried in dry mud," Cullmann explained in a press release. "They will launch themselves with tremendous speed and power at any animal foolish enough to come too close.” The result of Cullmann's efforts is a striking image that provides a unique perspective on these ancient predators.

The World Nature Photography Awards strives to influence positive change for wild species and spaces through powerful imagery that encourages us to question our relationship with the natural world.

"We congratulate all our winners and offer our deepest thanks for capturing such spectacular images of our precious planet," said Adrian Dinsdale, cofounder of the WNPAs. "Once again, we hope it provides great motivation to us all to do everything we can to protect the Earth for future generations."

Gold winner, Animals in their habitat
Snow leopard, Indian Himalayas
© Sascha Fonseca/World Nature Photography Awards
Silver winner, Animals in their habitat
Leopard, Kenya
© Thomas Vijayan/World Nature Photography Awards
Gold winner, Behaviour - Amphibians and reptiles
Japanese stream toad, Owase Mountains, Mie, Japan
© Norihiro Ikuma/World Nature Photography Awards
Gold winner, Behaviour - Birds
Male hooded merganser, Huntley Meadows Park, Alexandria, VA, USA
© Charles Schmidt/World Nature Photography Awards
Silver winner, Behaviour - Birds
Red-billed oxpecker, Zimanga, South Africa
© Tamas Aranyossy/World Nature Photography Awards
Gold winner, Behaviour - Invertebrates
Red crab (Grapsus adscensionis) La Gomera Island, Spain
© Javier Herranz Casellas/World Nature Photography Awards
Gold winner, Behaviour - Mammals
Japanese macaques, Awaji Island, Japan
© Hidetoshi Ogata/World Nature Photography Awards
Gold winner, Black and white
Lesser Antillean iguana, Grenada Island, West Indies
© Alain Ernoult/World Nature Photography Awards
Silver winner, Black and white
Wildebeest Mara river crossing, Kenya
© Artur Stankiewicz/World Nature Photography Awards
Bronze winner, Animal portraits
Seaweed blenny, Blue Heron Bridge in Riviera Beach, Florida, USA
© Andre Johnson/World Nature Photography Awards
Gold winner, Nature art
Spawning coral, Red Sea
© Tom Shlesinger/World Nature Photography Awards
Bronze winner, Nature art
Flamingos, Lake Magadi, Kenya
© Silke Hullmann/World Nature Photography Awards
Gold winner, Nature photojournalism
Australian fur seal Port Kembla, NSW, Australia
© Nicolas Remy/World Nature Photography Awards
Gold winner, People and nature
Inside a glacier, Solheimajokull, South Iceland
© Virgil Reglioni/World Nature Photography Awards
Silver winner, People and nature
Seal, Island of Dune, near Helgoland, Germany
© Alex Pansier/World Nature Photography Awards
Gold winner, Planet Earth's landscapes and environments
Grand Teton Peak, Wyoming, USA
© Jake Mosher/World Nature Photography Awards
Gold winner, Plants and fungi
Eucalyptus, Mount Barker, Western Australia
© Julie Kenny/World Nature Photography Awards
Silver winner, Plants and fungi
Crepidotus fungus, Windsor Nature Park, Singapore
© Mr. Endy./World Nature Photography Awards
Gold winner, Underwater
Harlequin shrimps Hymanocera, Lembeh strait, Indonesia
© Adriano Morettin/World Nature Photography Awards
Gold winner, Urban wildlife
Common kestrel (Falco tinnunculus), Stara Zagora, Bulgaria
© Vladislav Tasev/World Nature Photography Awards
Silver winner, Urban wildlife
Buffy Fish Owl (Ketupa Ketupu), Singapore
© Partha Roy/World Nature Photography Awards